Coronavirus vocabulary

Do you know all of these words? According to the iWeb Corpus, they are likely to appear on the same web pages as the word coronavirus. virus, viral infection, infect, infected, infectious disease respiratory severe symptom outbreak vaccine, vaccination syndrome fever spread human middle illness transmission antibody immune animal patient diarrhea acute case cat cell… Read more Coronavirus vocabulary


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Tatoeba is a database of sentences and translations. Enter a phrase and it shows example sentences in several languages. For example, a search for get drunk finds 95 English sentences, such as: Let’s get drunk. Don’t get drunk. Tom is getting drunk. I never get drunk. Getting drunk won’t make things better. Sentences come with… Read more Tatoeba


Lexico front page

Oxford’s online English dictionary has moved to Besides the dictionary and thesaurus, there are sections on grammar, spelling, writing, punctuation, word origins, etc. For example, do you know the longest one-syllable English words? There are several that have nine letters: screeched /skriːʧt/ schlepped /ʃlɛpt/ scratched /skræʧt/ scrounged /skraʊnʤd/ scrunched /skrʌnʧt/ stretched /strɛʧt/ straights /streɪts/… Read more Lexico

Usage tips


Did you know that “winter denotes a season of the year, but connotes cold weather”? If not, then perhaps you should consult the Usage section of the Oxford Dictionaries website. It has numerous tips on word choices. For example: Bring or take? Continual or continuous? Its or it’s? Phenomenon or phenomena? Who or whom? Other… Read more Usage tips


Hat stretcher

Work, the what’s-its-name of the thingummy and the thing-um-a-bob of the what d’you-call-it. – P. G. Wodehouse Fortunately, I had all this wreckage to build a space swapping doodah-thingy-whatsit. – The Sarah Jane Adventures (TV series) English has several words for a thing or person whose name you don’t know or can’t remember or can’t… Read more Thingummy

Word frequency symbols in online dictionaries

Some online dictionaries use symbols to show word frequency. The more symbols a word has, the more common it is in English. Macmillan The Macmillan Dictionary uses 1-3 stars: Longman The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English uses 1-3 circles: Collins The Collins English Dictionary uses 1-5 circles: Oxford The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary labels common… Read more Word frequency symbols in online dictionaries